Start-up Silkroad claims its newly patented photonics technology could push the bandwidth capacity of a single fibre optic strand to 10 terabits per second (Tbps).
Less than one month after receiving its first patent for the technology, Silkroad has demonstrated the use of photons (units of light) to maximise the potential of fibre optics.
The 10Tbps capacity is still in the labs but Silkroad did achieve 93Gbps at a demonstration in the US yesterday.
According to the company, current advanced networking technologies, such as Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM), are able to transmit information at up to 40Gbps, but do so using multiple wavelengths as well as multiple lasers to keep the signals stable over long distances.
Silkroad claims its current technology is far less complex and expensive than WDM, because it uses only one laser to transmit up to 200Gbps as far as 200 miles on a single wavelength on the same fibre cable.
Real world products from the technology, called Silkroad Refractive Synchronization Communication (SRSC), will be available next year. First of all the company is concentrating on wide area and metropolitan telecomms networks but says the technology is scalable and it will go down to the Lan level in late 1999.
The company was co-founded by Dr James Palmer, its chairman and chief technical officer, an optics pioneer.
An early adopter of SRSC is San Diego State University, which will use it for providing distance learning to people in developing communities, specifically the Caspian Sea, central Asia, Pacific Asia, the Middle East and western Africa.
"Silkroad's remarkable technology allows us the opportunity to provide a strong, interactive curriculum to people worldwide," said Dr William Locke, the dean of global programme development at the university.
Silkroad is looking for partners to help it exploit its technology. Its first one is Six R, a systems integrator in the telco arena.
Silkroad's vice president of operations, Robert Freeman, said that telecomms equipment companies such as Lucent, Nortel and Siemens were focused on WDM but were "dumbfounded" when they saw SRSC demonstrated.
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